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Film Room: Keith Duncan’s Legacy Begins

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Reliving the final drive of Iowa’s dramatic 2016 victory over Michigan

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Setup

The number three ranked, and undefeated, Michigan Wolverines have just thrown an incomplete pass on third down and eight allowing Iowa to save its only remaining timeout. There is 1:36 on the clock and Michigan is about to punt from their own 18. Up to this point, Iowa only has 56 yards passing and all but 14 of those have been to Akrum Wadley. They have completed ONE pass the entire second half. The good news is Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr. have been very efficient rushing against one of the nation’s leading defenses combining for over 150 yards on the ground.

Desmond King is back deep for the Hawkeyes. Iowa 11. Michigan 13


It’s a cold November evening in Kinnick Stadium, and Michigan’s punter kicks a low, line drive. King catches it on his own 41 with the nearest defender still not crossing midfield. He’s brought down just short of midfield but a debatable facemask call pushes Iowa well into Michigan territory.


1st and 10, 36 yard line, 1:23 remaining

Iowa comes out in shotgun with trips to the field. Wadley stands to C.J. Beathard’s right and tight end Nate Wieting is inline to the boundary. Michigan chooses to call its first timeout after seeing the formation. During the timeout, the camera catches King come over to Beathard on the sideline, grabbing him with both hands and shaking him as he talks to him. They also show Keith Duncan riding the exercise bike to stay warm and Miguel Recinos is kicking into the net. Both have have attempted field goals in this game.

Following the timeout, Iowa comes out in the same formation. Michigan has a standard 4-3 box with a single high safety. Three defensive backs are man-to-man at the top of the screen matched up against Riley McCarron, Jay Scheel, and Jerminic Smith.

Despite being Iowa’s only real threat all game, Michigan somehow doesn’t key on Wadley and Iowa is able to set up a screen to him picking up 10 yards and getting out of bounds. The middle linebacker follows Wieting crossing the field and hybrid linebacker, Jabrill Peppers, drops deep into coverage. Peppers makes the play but this play puts Iowa in prime position.

An interesting wrinkle to this call is center James Daniels is really the only lineman to pull to lead the play. This keeps the ballside defenders from reading their blockers and attempting to take away the pass. The left guard comes across the formation to help block the pursuit of the rushing lineman. Sean Welsh, right guard, does a tremendous job of tossing his man to push him upfield and out of the play.


1st and 10, 26 yard line, 1:16 remaining

Iowa comes out in a more traditional I-formation and gives to Wadley. He does a great job of avoiding a Michigan lineman who is there right at the handoff and manages to pick up three yards.

Iowa is content to let the clock tick at this point. This time the Hawkeyes come out with a single back set and three receivers in an attempt to expand the defense a little. It’s another give to Wadley, but this time for no gain. Timeout Michigan.


3rd and 7, 26 yard line, 1:16 remaining

This might be my favorite call of the entire Greg Davis era. Iowa comes out in shotgun with two receivers and the tight end split out to the field and one receiver to the boundary. LaShun Daniels Jr is next to Beathard on his right. Wait! WHAT!?!? Where is Wadley on the most important play of the entire game?!? (I’m going crazy about this in the stands as this play is almost directly in front of me).

Michigan counters with four down lineman and two linebackers in the middle of the field and a safety creeping down into the box on the boundary side. He’s doing that because the field linebacker is coming on the blitz and the boundary linebacker slides over to replace him.

The call is perfect because it opens angles and leaves the middle of the field open for the perfect call, quarterback draw. Daniels moves his defender to his left and Welsh and Daniels, the reason he is in the game, combine on a double team the other defensive tackle. Welsh displays great footwork and hand placement to get inside of his man. Presnap that defender is lined up to the inside gap. Welsh is able to not only get inside position but also turn his man.

Beathard sprints right to the spot vacated by the blitzing linebacker and picks up eight yards. The linebacker who was replacing that spot got caught watching and chasing Wieting, who was already being covered by Peppers. FIRST DOWN!

Rewatching I cannot believe the spot. I’m pretty sure its a first down, but they give Iowa a full extra yard.


1st and 10, 15 yard line, 0:28 remaining

Michigan chooses not to call its final timeout or preserve time in the event of a made field goal. Instead, Harbaugh elects to save it in an attempt to freeze whichever kicker Iowa decides to bring out. The clock ticks down to three seconds before Kirk Ferentz calls Iowa’s final timeout.


Out walks Duncan

Iowa elects to send out freshman Keith Duncan, who earlier had made his only attempt of the game, a 25 yarder in the second quarter. This kick will be a 33 yarder.

Timeout Michigan. Iowa does not snap the ball, but Duncan goes through his motion. Duncan and the rest of the Hawkeyes setup again. Ron Coluzzi takes a knee on the 23 yard line, nearly perfectly centered in the middle of the field.

Three backward steps. Two to the left. Duncan looks to the uprights, then to Coluzzi. Snap. Spot. Kick. CELEBRATE!!!!!


This was how it looked to me that night. Share your experience in the comments.